REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.
The ringwork in Castlehill Wood is a small but reasonably well-preserved example which, although partially disturbed by quarrying, retains substantial archaeological remains including the foundations of stone buildings. In addition, it is believed to be one of the rarer forms of ringwork with an attached bailey, though this bailey is not included in the scheduling.
Although elsewhere recorded as a motte, this monument, sometimes known as Mouselow Castle, is in fact a ringwork. It includes an oval earthwork, constructed at the summit of a steep hill, enclosed on all but the south-west side by a ditch and a substantial counterscarp bank. A bailey or outer enclosure may originally have extended to the south-west, but this area is not included in the scheduling as it has been heavily disturbed by quarrying. The central earthwork comprises an area measuring c.30m by 20m surrounded by 3m wide bank. The bank stands between 1m and 1.5m above the interior but is between 3m and 4m high above the bottom of the surrounding ditch. Low, grass- covered mounds, visible on the north-west and south-east sides of the enclosed area, are interpreted as the sites of buildings. The ditch, which has a V- shaped profile, is c.6m wide and was found, by excavation, originally to have been 2.3m deep. The upcast material from the ditch was used to construct the counterscarp bank which is c.5m wide and up to 3m wide. A line of turf found within the latter indicates that it was heightened at some point and that the ditch must therefore have been recut. This shows there to have been at least two phases to the fortification of the site. The precise function of the ringwork is unknown but it commands wide views over the surrounding moorland and overlooks the confluence of Dinting Vale and the valley of the River Etherow.
Book Reference - Author: Aiken, J - Title: A description of the countryside from 30-40 mls round Manchester - Date: 1795 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Title: Victoria County History: Derby I - Date: 1905 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Hart, C.R. - Title: North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey - Date: 1981 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Re Leland's 'Collectanea'
Other Reference - Author: Reeve, Glynis - Title: Facsimile reproduction of ... excavations by J Scott c. 1963 - Date: 1984 - Journal Title: Mouselow Castle, an interim report 1984/85 - Type: EXCAVATION RECORDS - Description: Report held by Mr and Mrs Goddard
Book Reference - Author: Reeve, Glynis - Title: Mouselow Castle, an interim report 1984/85 - Date: 1984 - Type: EXCAVATION REPORT - Description: Report held by Mr and Mrs Goddard
Book Reference - Author: Watson, J - Title: Archaeologica - Date: 1779 - Type: DESC TEXT